Blue Pool is a Jewel

Blue Pool 15Sept2016

Blue Pool, Oregon

As I hiked to Blue Pool, I wondered if it would really have the jewel-toned blue water I had seen in so many pictures. We walked for four miles and finally caught a glimpse of this small lake. Walking to the edge of a steep cliff, we looked down at its crystal clear waters.

About Blue Pool

Blue Pool, also known as Tamolitch Pool,  was breathtakingly beautiful on this bright and sunny day. The turquoise and sapphire blue waters sparkled up at us. The leaves of trees surrounding the pool were just beginning to change color. Their reflections in the water looked like an Impressionist painting.

Blue Pool Reflections 15Sept2016

Blue Pool reflections

There used to be an impressive waterfall here but recent volcanic activity, and a diversion for hydroelectric power,  has changed the course of the river. The river still flows over the falls occasionally during times of snow melt.

We arrived at the pool at 12:30 pm and there were three hikers down at the water’s edge. They intended to take a dip in the pool but hesitated for quite a while. I don’t blame them since the pool’s water temperature is only 37-40° F. Oooh, that would be cold! They finally got their courage up and screeched as they entered the frigid water. Like others before them, they did not stay in for long.

Blue Pool 15Sept2016

Blue Pool, Oregon

Some visitors prefer to jump off the 60-70 foot high cliff overlooking the pool and plunge into the water far below. The ice-cold water gets as deep as 30 feet. It looks so inviting but many have been injured here and a few have died so it’s NOT recommended. I think cliff diving into a big warm lake, as I did many years ago, would be a lot more fun.

About Mckenzie River Trail

We started our hike at Carmen Reservoir and made our way along the McKenzie River Trail. We walked through primeval looking forests dominated by Douglas’ fir, western hemlock, cedar, and an occasional pine tree. Drier areas had leggy rhododendrons reaching upwards towards the light; moister areas were draped in moss and ferns. Log footbridges led us over dry chasms that contain water only during times of really wet conditions. The trail had little elevation gain and was mostly smooth but did contain areas where rough lava rock or tree roots slowed our progress a little. Several mountain bikes whizzed past us at different points of the walk.

You walk close to the McKenzie River for the first part of this walk and then it vanishes. It actually goes underground for three miles and then pops up again in Blue Pool. The headwaters of the McKenzie River are located in Clear Lake, several miles to the north. See my post on Clear Lake here.

After we finished visiting the pool, we walked two more miles south to Tamolitch Trailhead. This is the place most hikers start and Blue Pool is a very popular destination. Blue Pool is located about 60 miles west of Bend and 68 miles east of Eugene. One of the people in our Bend Parks & Recreation hiking group dropped us off at Carmen Reservoir, drove to Tamolitch Trailhead, parked, hiked in to meet us, and followed us out to the van. That worked out well!

Tamolitch is a Chinook word meaning “bucket” or “tub.” I see why so many people include this place on their bucket list.

McKenzie River 15Sept2016

McKenzie River

We were lucky to make this hike since the area has been closed due to a fire close by. It just reopened but a ranger and firefighter were at the pool to remind people not to smoke.

Be prepared on any trips you make into the backcountry and help to preserve its beauty for the rest of us. Thanks!



Fall Foliage Fireworks: Weekly Photo Challenge

Fall foliage at Doris Lake, Oregon 20Sept2016

Fall leaves
Bursting with color
Explosions of warms and cools
Reflecting the last rays of summer
On a quest towards the
Cold crispness to come

Weekly Photo Challenge – Quest

Clear Lake – Sunken Sights

Sunken sightsClear Lake Underwater Forest 30Aug2016

Sunken sights await you at Clear Lake in Linn County, Oregon. This “young” lake was formed by nearby volcanic activity 3,000 years ago. The McKenzie River originates here.

Clear Lake Underwater Forest 30Aug2016

Clear Lake Underwater Forest

The cold water temperatures preserved a forest of ghostly trees beneath the surface. The water temperature averages 35-43° F. Brrrr! The leaves and needles of the trees are long gone but their trunks and limbs stand like some prehistoric creature preserved in time. Some visitors get a closer look at the underwater sights by scuba diving here.

Osprey over Clear Lake 30 Aug 2016

Osprey over Clear Lake

About Clear Lake

This 148-acre lake has an average depth of 50 feet and a maximum depth of 175 feet.  In August, it was stocked with 2,500 rainbow trout – 500 of which were large fish. There are also brook trout in Clear Lake. We saw schools of fish at the southern end of the lake. Osprey were busy looking at those fish as well. Rafts of goldeneye ducks floated nearby.

Here’s a short video of the fish at the south end of the lake.

Clear Lake Reflections 30 Aug 2016

Clear Lake reflections

Clear and calm conditions provided some great opportunities to take photos of reflections from my kayak. See my post titled Nature’s Arrow for one of my favorites. The plants growing in the lava fields bordering parts of the lake were just starting to show fall colors.

Clear Lake Reflections 30 Aug 2016

Clear Lake reflections

You can camp or stay in a rustic cabin at the Clear Lake Resort and County Park . It’s open year-round. There are non-motorized boat rentals there and a small store/restaurant. There’s also the Coldwater Cove Campground that’s managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

Things to do close by

This is a pretty lake and there are other natural attractions nearby. The viewing area for Sahalie and Koosah falls is just a mile away. The legendary Tamolitch (Blue) Pool is also close by. Note that the McKenzie Highway does pass close to Clear Lake and the falls so it may not be the quietest wilderness experience but the area is definitely worth a visit.

Princess Angeline – Pacific Northwest Royalty

Princess Angeline by Edward S. Curtis. 1899.
Princess Angeline by Edward S. Curtis. 1899.

Did you know that a princess is buried at Lake View Cemetery in Seattle?  I bet many people don’t even know who she was. The woman known as “Princess Angeline” was the daughter of Chief Sealth, aka Chief Seattle or Chief Si’ahl. Born in the early 1800’s, she passed away on May 31, 1896.

I posted a nine-part essay on photographer Edward S. Curtis last year and in Part 3, recalled the importance of Princess Angeline to Curtis’ future career. She was the first Native American that he photographed. He entered several pictures of tribal members in a National Photographic Society contest. Consequently, one photograph won the grand prize and a gold medal.

Princess Angeline's gravestone with Yesler memorial in the background 8July2016
Princess Angeline’s gravestone with Yesler memorial in the background

Princess Angeline’s grave

I recently attended the funeral of a close relative at Lake View Cemetery and found Princess Angeline’s gravestone nearby. Her rough granite gravestone is next to the much grander towering tombstone of Seattle pioneer, Henry L. Yesler. Princess Angeline requested she be buried close to Yesler since she considered him to be her friend and protector.

There was a magnificent funeral for her in 1896 at Seattle’s Church of Our Lady of Good Help. Princess Angeline was buried in a canoe-shaped coffin. Many years later, school children in Seattle raised money to purchase her a gravestone.

The inscription on her gravestone piqued my curiosity. It said that she “was a life long supporter of the white settlers” and that she had been converted to Christianity and was named by Mrs. D. S. Maynard. The inscription also stated she had befriended pioneers “during the Indian attack upon Seattle on January 26, 1856.”

Chief Sealth’s first wife, Lalaida, gave birth to daughters Princess Angeline and Mary. Sealth fathered five additional children. Princess Angeline’s Lushootseed name at birth was Kikisoblu.

Chief Sealth. 1864. Photograph by E. M. Sammis.
Chief Sealth, 1864. Photograph by E. M. Sammis. Photo courtesy of University of Washington Library Special Collection.

Chief Sealth

Her father, who would later become Chief Sealth, was a young child when Captain George Vancouver anchored his ship in Puget Sound in 1792. The captain was not impressed with what he saw of the indigenous people. He described their village as the “most lowly and meanest of its kind.”

Sealth grew up to be respected among his people for his skills as a warrior, orator, and diplomat. He encouraged the construction of a trading post by the Denny-Boren party, who arrived in the area in 1851. Though that post failed, it set the stage for a trading post later established by Doc Maynard. In 1852, Maynard arrived in a canoe paddled by Chief Sealth and other Duwamish tribal members. Chief Sealth befriended many settlers and the city was named “Seattle” in his honor.

As more settlers moved into the area, conflicts grew between them and the native peoples. In 1854, Washington Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens (who thought the only good Indian was a dead Indian) visited Seattle.  Chief Sealth made an eloquent speech in which he despaired that the day of the Indian had passed and that the future belonged to white man. This oft-quoted speech was likely embellished by journalists of the time. It has undergone several revisions  but its underlying message still rings true.

The chief signed the Treaty of Point Elliot in 1855. As a result, the Suquamish people were forced to relocate to a reservation across Puget Sound from their tribal lands.

Princess Angeline, daughter of Chief Seattle at home in 1890, photo courtesy University of Washington Library.
Princess Angeline, daughter of Chief Seattle, at home in 1890. Photo courtesy of University of Washington Library Special Collections.

Her life within the city

Princess Angeline chose to stay in the Seattle area. Princess Angeline, her father, and Curly or Curly Jim are attributed (depending upon the source) with warning the settlers about the approach of hostile natives in the Battle of Seattle. The battle took place on January 26, 1856.

Native Americans were not supposed to live within the city limits but Princess Angeline, then in her mid-30’s, lived in a small shack on Western Avenue between Pike and Pine streets. Her friend Catherine Maynard, wife of Doc Maynard, thought she deserved a name that would help people recognize her importance as the daughter of the city’s namesake. She named her Princess Angeline– a name she thought was “prettier” than her native name.

As Angeline entered old age, she had offers of help but preferred to continue living on her own in the waterfront shack. However, she did not live an easy life. She often collected shellfish along the shores of Puget Sound. Angeline did laundry for settlers, made baskets and native handicrafts, and posed for pictures to supplement her income. In her elder years her visage, dressed in a red bandanna, shawl, and several layers of clothes, became iconic of Native Americans of the time.

Princess Angeline's gravestone 8July2016
Princess Angeline’s gravestone

Young boys often hounded her, following her and harassing her. She would throw rocks at them to keep them away. Perhaps that’s why there is a collection of stones in front of her gravestone today.

Her spirit lives on

As reported on the  Weird U.S. site, some believe they still see her ghost at the Pike Place Market in Seattle. It is close to where her shack once stood. According to the author, people have seen an old Native American woman quietly sitting on the ground surrounded by several baskets. Others claimed to have seen her near the flower market. Still others report seeing an old woman hobbling into a seat on ferry boats crossing Puget Sound only to vanish before the ship docks. I will leave it up to you to decide if these apparitions exist but Princess Angeline did make a lasting impression on those who came into contact with her.

An interesting connection

Interesting fact: My relative, recently laid to rest at Lake View Cemetery, happened to have lived in the house built for the granddaughter of Seattle founder, Arthur Denny. Her father, Rolland Denny, had a house close by. Princess Angeline’s father, Chief Sealth, had helped Arthur Denny settle in the Seattle area.


By Walt Crowley and David Wilma. “” Native Americans Attack Seattle on January 26, 1856. –. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2016.
Crowley, By Walt. “” Denny, Boren, and Bell Select Claims on Elliott Bay Marking the Beginning of Seattle on February 15, 1852. –. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2016.
@HistoryNet. “Chief Seattle | HistoryNet.” HistoryNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2016.
Tribe, Duwamish. “Duwamish Tribe.” Duwamish Tribe. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2016.
“Weird Washington.” Weird Washington. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2016.

Lava River Cave: A Local Attraction

Lava River Cave entrance 16Aug2016
Lava River Cave entrance

I recently went on a two-mile trek to the center of the earth. Okay, not quite the center of the earth but the trail did lead underneath Highway 97 – the main North-South highway in these parts. I decided to visit Lava River Cave before it shut down for the season. This cave is located 12 miles south of Bend, Oregon in the Newberry Volcanic National Monument area.

I had heard that there was limited parking so I got there early. WAY too early! I forget that I only live a half an hour from many of these geological attractions.Check the operating hours and entrance pass requirements for Lava River Cave here.

Lava River Cave 16Aug2016
Lava River Cave

Cave characteristics

It is a cool but creepy experience to go into some of these caves. When I say cool, I really mean cool. The average temperature inside this cave is 43° F so dress accordingly. You can bring your own lights but they rent high-power flashlights there for only $5. I chose to help support the site by renting their light. They have a donation jar near the exit so you can make additional contributions there.

At 5,466 feet in length, Lava River Cave is one of Oregon’s longest lava tubes. Lava from Newberry Volcano flowed down here about 100,000 years ago. As the lava drained away, it created this long tube. The lava was 2,000° F!

Lava tubes are often discovered when a part of the roof collapses, exposing the cave below. This cave was discovered in 1899 by stockman and trapper, Leander Dillman. The site was acquired by the U.S. Forest Service in 1981 and was included in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument when it was established in 1990.

Lava River Cave sand gardens 16Aug2016
Lava River Cave sand gardens

Inside the cave

One of the unique features in this cave is the presence of “sand gardens.” Over time, sediment washes through cracks in the roof and it partially fills the cave. These sand gardens form as water droplets erode the sand fill away. They look a bit like very small badland formations.

The cave is about a mile long to the end. I only had to duck to avoid hitting my head in a couple of spots. Much of the cave has a roof that is high overhead. Wear good boots and watch your step.

It took me 50 minutes on the way in to get to the end as I attempted to take many pictures. On the way out it only took about 25 minutes since I was walking much faster. Note that you are required to listen to a very short talk on protecting local bat populations from White-nose Syndrome prior to going into the cave.

Lava River Cave entrance stairs & ramps 16Aug2016
Lava River Cave entrance stairs & ramps

A rough trek

One last thing…I saw a group of several young mothers carrying infants in front packs. No, just no. When you start the walk, you go down a series of ramps and 55 metal stairs. Then you get into some rough ground for a short while. Though much of the walk is over fairly smooth ground, you will run into rough sections and you can stumble even when using a good light. Lava River Cave is a nice cave to visit but I would not recommend it for young children or people who have mobility issues. Just my two cents worth…

There are plenty of sights to see around here. See my posts on the following for more information: Lava Cast Forest, Lava Butte, Lava Lands Visitor Center, and  Happy Bday Newberry! Note that the visitor center and some of the attractions close during fall and winter months.